A few weeks ago I did a very brave thing, I arranged to take 5 of my 6 bridesmaids to Westfield Stratford City on an epic dress hunting adventure, with the hope that we’d all make it out alive and with a dress for each of them in hand! Now I don’t want you to think that my girls are Miranda Priestly fussy when it comes to what they wear, but when you have 6 people with very different styles, body types and colouring – finding a dress that they all feel schmazing in is a pretty big task (we’re talking Lord of the Rings big here).
After stumbling upon some old family photos of my Great Grandma and Nan as bridesmaids, I’d been playing around with colours and looks in my head, moving from all ivory to lilac and tulip skirt to drop waist; so I decided the best bet was to start the day off at David’s Bridal, the ultimate one stop shop for everything wedding party related. I booked an appointment in advance which meant we had 90 minutes and a personal stylist to help us choose from the racks upon racks of dresses they have available. After a quick chat about the style of the wedding and working out the girls US equivalent sizes (David’s is a US brand so all dresses are in US sizes), we were let loose on the shop floor and each maid was asked to find three dresses that she liked the style of to try on. The changing room is straight out of Say Yes To The Dress and I bloody loved sitting on the chaise with my nan whilst the girls stepped out in front of the mirrors and showed off their picks.
The great thing about David’s was that it gave me the opportunity to see a really varied selection of styles and colourways on all of the girls at the same time, you can really quickly see that long dresses aren’t going to work on your younger bridesmaids or that coral isn’t as fab a colour on everyone as you thought it would be. All styles are available in all colours as well, so you can mix and match long and short dresses but still have all the girls in the same colour – bonus!
I quickly realised that the mix and match look wasn’t for me, I liked the symmetry of the girls all in the same dress but we couldn’t decide on one that everyone felt comfortable in, so we left without ‘saying yes to the dress’ but with some colour swatches (another great reference point) and a much clearer idea of what we were looking for. We hit Coast, Reiss, Monsoon and Ghost without much luck, lots of beautiful dresses but nothing was really jumping out – luckily I’d prepared for such an eventuality (former girl guide #sorrynotsorry)…
I’ve always been a little suspicious of online shopping, the quality and fit of anything I’ve ordered never seems to be as good on me as it looked on the model online, funny that! However after ordering a dress from Boden for a friend’s wedding back in the summer, I was converted after the fit was perfect (very handy online size calculator) and I had a lot of ‘Where did you get that?’ type compliments.
I’d had my eye on the beautiful jewel toned ‘Swishy’ dress, but at £139.00 it was a little too pricey when I knew I’d be buying 6 of them. Blow me down and call me Sally, when the same week that we were going shopping, they went down in the sale to £30.00! I immediately ordered all of the sizes we needed including a few extra options in the petite/regular lengths (again such a great option when you have a munchkin for a sister) and they arrived the day before the great shopping expedition!
Re-fuelled with wine and burritos we headed back to mine to have a try on, luckily for us the groom was at home ready to impart his expert sartorial opinion and drag the full length mirror into the living room. The dresses were a hit; pretty, practical and oh so swishy – I got more than a little emosh when I saw them all stood together and it hit me that these girls would be by my side on our wedding day as my beautiful bridesmaids, but more importantly as my brilliant friends.
I wanted them all to feel fabulous and be able to laugh freely, eat and drink lots, bend down without flashing their pants and dance all night long – and I know that in these dresses they’ll be doing exactly that, and I for one can’t wait to join them!
PS On a side note, a MASSIVE thank you to Leo from Boden’s customer service team who tracked down the last remaining size 6 swishy dress and had it sent to me all the way from the USA at no extra cost – #WhatALegend!